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Queensland tap water named Australia’s top drop

After taking out the state title for two years running, Queensland’s Mackay Regional Council (MRC) can now lay claim to Australia’s best tasting tap water.

Water from MRC’s Marian Water Treatment Plant was judged against samples from across the country at the 2019 Ixom Best Tasting Tap Water Competition, held in Victoria on Saturday. 

It came out just ahead of the other state champions: New South Wales’ Shoalhaven Water; TasWater; SA Water; Western Australia’s Water Corporation; and Barwon Water in Victoria.

MRC Water Treatment Manager Stuart Boyd accepts the award from Ixom's Rowan Storey.

MRC’s sample came from the Pioneer River, which originates in the tropical rainforests of Eungella National Park and the Crediton State Forest. 

It was then treated at the Marian plant and distributed to more than 6000 Marian and Mirani residents.

MRC Mayor Greg Williamson said the award was a testament to MRC’s water services team.

“You don’t need to go to the big capital cities to get the best water; we have it right here in our very own backyard,” he said.

“Water from rivers needs to go through a thorough treatment process to remove any impurities, and we are providing our residents with the cleanest and best tasting tap water in Australia.” 

How does the competition work?

Throughout the year, water authorities from across the country participate in state heats, where water samples are judged on qualities including colour, clarity, odour and mouthfeel.

Competition organiser, the Water Industry Operators Association of Australia (WIOA), describes it as “wine tasting without needing to spit out the samples”.

WIOA Chief Operations Officer Craig Mathisen said the annual awards are about recognising the hard work of those in the water sector.

“No one writes about high-quality drinking water that everyone drinks 365 days a year and no one gets sick from, so WIOA decided to try and shed some light on what has been, for too long, a hidden industry,” he said.

“We see the operators of the facilities as people who work in public health who daily put quality food on the tables of our communities around the country.”

MRC will go on to represent Australia at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Competition in the US in February.

It will hope to outdo the 2018 Australian winner, Victoria’s Wannon Water, which took second place in the competition.